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Wellcome Trust Blog

Disclaimer: This project is not funded or affiliated with the Wellcome Trust.

Can you turn gamers into armchair pathologists? At the recent AAAS conference in Boston, Dr Aydogan Ozcan presented an online game his lab is developing to identify red blood cells that are infected with the malaria parasite.

Looking at blood samples under a microscope remains the most common way of diagnosing the disease. Although more modern techniques such as PCR are available, these are hard to implement in areas where the disease is endemic because access to equipment and reagents can be few and far between. But signs that a red blood cell is infected with malaria can be easy to miss and extensive training is required to be able to accurately interpret and diagnose from microscope images. Advances in microscope technology mean that it’s getting cheaper and easier to get the equipment into developing countries, but what…

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